In the space of a week our weather here in New England has gone from reaching a high in the 90s during the day to a low of 40s at night. Fall is definitely making an early arrival this year! The markets are also beginning to reflect a change of seasons, especially in the produce aisles where the bins are filled with apples. Macintosh, Mollie’s Delicious, Ginger Gold, Gravenstein, and Macouns (my personal favorite) are all on proud display.
I’ve been buying them in varying hues, slicing them thinly, and using them along with fresh sage leaves (from my herb garden) to garnish wedges of local blue and aged goat cheese. This week I branched out and used them in a robust fall salad.
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Oakleaf and Apple Salad in Honey Cider Dressing
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup canola oil
1 firm, crisp unpeeled apple, halved, cored, and thinly sliced (Macaouns, McIntosh or Pink Lady work well.)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups oak leaf or red leaf lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces
4 cups curly endive (frisée) or other tart greens (See note.)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (See cooking tip.)
1. Prepare dressing. Whisk honey, vinegar, mustard, and scant 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium nonreactive bowl until blended. Whisk in oil. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature, and whisk well before using.)
2. Add sliced apple and onion to a salad bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Marinate 10 minutes. Add the oak leaf and frisee. Then, toss with just enough of the remaining dressing to coat lightly. You may not need to use all the dressing. Season salad with more salt and with a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Mound on 6 salad plates and garnish each serving with some walnuts.
Note: Curly endive is a variety of chicory, which is also sold under the French name, "frisee." Frisee has small, pale green lacey leaves and a slightly tart taste. It is milder than other chicories.
Cooking tip: To toast walnuts, spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, and place in a preheated 350 degree F oven. Bake until slightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Watch carefully so they do not burn.. Cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2014